No half measures for half term!

It’s the middle of February and the first half-term of the year either looms menacingly or beckons welcomingly, depending on your age/financial liquidity/likelihood of annual leave/general outlook on life. But let’s assume that you are either a) of a naturally sunny disposition or b) easily influenced by an irritatingly over-enthusiastic Visit Leicester writer and say – hooray! February half-term is great fun, and there’s loads to do locally! Here are one or two ideas… submit willingly or I’m prepared to throw in more exclamation marks…

Intentional comedy

As opposed to the unintentional kind, which is what unfolds when you run for president of the USA and somehow manage to get elected. But forget global politics for a few minutes - Leicester Comedy Festival runs until 23 February, and its offshoot the UK Kids’ Comedy Festival is packed full of gigs not just ‘suitable’ but ‘genuinely enjoyable’ for all the family. Check out the Comedy Club 4 Kids at De Montfort Hall on Saturday 15 February (tickets £8), or Samson and Mabel, the UK’s youngest stand-up double-act, at The Shed on the same day (£5, or pay what you want).

Out in the county on the 15th, you can make joke puppets at a free event at Harborough Museum, and have fun seeing how much responsibility you can give them before someone spots them for what they really are. (Looks like we’re back on to the president of the USA again).

Later in half-term week, there’s a kids’ comedy workshop with Rob Gee at New Walk Museum (tickets £4.50, Tuesday 18 February) and a chance to see Blue Planet III – a sequel made by a couple of ‘unlikely idiots’ – their words - at the Attenborough Arts Centre on Friday 21 February (tickets £5). Plus there’s loads more comedy to choose from – check out the website for details. 

Spark your imagination

The Spark children’s arts festival runs until 16 February, and features a really great video on its website of what looks like some kids having a whale of a time while dressed for forensic investigation work. Good on them! And if you want to join the fun, there are loads of opportunities. Here are just a few highlights – you could join in the free family takeover day at Curve on 15 February, with a ‘sensory moon beach’, musicians and DJs, murals and poems all on offer. Or check out Mr Swing & the Beat Rangers, a beatboxing musical journey at the Y Theatre, on Saturday 15 February (tickets £7). And on both Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 February, you can get your own hazmat suit and join in with Plock!, an interactive tribute to Jackson Pollock, at Curve (£12).

Days at the museum

Leicester’s museums are a fantastic resource for some half-term fun – and they’re all free to enter, although there’s usually a charge for activities. Choose from a model-building craft activity at Newarke Houses Museum on Monday 17 February, scrapbooking at the Guildhall on Wednesday 19 February (£12), or visit the museums’ pop-up shop in the Highcross shopping centre from Tuesday 18 to Friday 21 February. And for more historical fun, check out the King Richard III Visitor Centre, where the Jailer will be meting out a range of punishments to visitors young and old. You could even end up in the stocks! (Well, he can try: but remember – you’re an adult. A withering put-down ought to do the trick).

Mascots aplenty

Do your children go nuts for someone dressed up in a furry suit with little ventilation? If so, you can make their half-term with a trip to the Great Central Railway, where Chase and Skye from Paw Patrol will be making personal appearances at Loughborough from Tuesday 18 to Thursday 20 February. Check out times and prices on the website, where you can also find out more about the mini funfair and face-painting at the railway for half-term.

And Twinlakes in Melton is promising superhero half-term fun to visitors, where all you have to do is dress up as a superhero (Bicycle Repair Man, anyone?) to get a two-for-one ticket to Twinlakes’ sister venue Wheelgate Park, in Mansfield. There’ll be plenty of all-weather fun on offer all week, including arts and crafts and the chance to take part in a Hero Academy. Visit the website for ticket prices.

Indoor fun

Weather lousy? There’s plenty of indoor entertainment on offer to keep you warm and dry. Visit Belgrave Library on 15 or 16 February to join the Spark’s Flying High event, where everything from kite-flying to yoga will be on offer – all for free. Or join a similar free Spark event at the Brite Centre on the same weekend, where Light Up the Brite will feature story-telling, lantern-making and a silent disco.

Or just curl up on the sofa and enjoy a good movie! Groundhog Day (PG) is fitting for the time of year (it’s celebrated on 2 February) – and who doesn’t love Bill Murray? Alternatively, if you’ve got Netflix, younger children will love the Studio Ghibli favourite My Neighbour Totoro. And the Phoenix is showing animated caper Spies In Disguise, featuring the voice of Will Smith, if you fancy a trip to the cinema.

With all that on offer, the week will fly by on gilded wings, which can mean only one thing – I’d better get my exclamation marks ready for Easter. Over! And! Out!




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